Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Vino

I don’t like 4 week menus because you’re cooking the same stuff for too long. It gets monotonous but that is the price that we have to pay for including festivals like Christmas in the year. I may have said so in the past but I never really looked forward to a holiday, not until we started this and now I crave them. So the four week menu took us to the three week Christmas menu and then to the two week break. That two week break is actually from the 19th of December through until the 6th or something of January; unheard of luxury. As I wrote in a blog, the next few menus will be inspired by some of my favourite cookbooks, although we’ll be scattering some of our dishes around as well. If anyone has anything that would like to see again or a dish that they particularly fancy me having a crack, let me know.

One significant, and bulky, addition to the kitchen is a new oven. This will mean that we can keep one oven for soufflés and I think we’ll probably throw a few of them on now. I liked the last menu a lot and we got very good feedback on the whole. The rendang was favourably compared to those available at the thai restaurants in Cardiff but the star of the show was the casumziei. This is a beetroot and vegan ricotta ravioli with a brown butter and poppy seed sauce that is truly wonderful. I actually mis-spelled this on the menu and was rightly criticised for doing so, although I still dispute that the google response to a search on cazumsiei was “kiss my arse”.

On to the Christmas menu and this is it, bar for any small changes that may be made.


Butternut, amaretti and fennel ravioli with lemon and sage butter sauce (vo, co)

This has been requested and it seems a nice way to round off a series of menus which have explored these flavours in different ways.

Cheese gougeres with spicy cheese and chocolate mole (co)

This is my favourite dish of the year, an interesting combination of flavours and a shock to the system. You think you’re eating profiteroles but it just tastes different.

Thai spiced beetroot soup (v, co)

This was requested and as a confirmed beetroot lover, I was unable to refuse.

Not duck rolls with plum sauce (v)

I may just tweak these and try smoking my “not duck”. If it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to tobacoo.


Parsnip, chestnut and potato gnocchi with green curry sauce, mushrooms and edamame (v, co).

This is a nod towards Christmas but with a twist. I think it will work very well but, and this is the exciting part, I could be very wrong.

The bah-humbug: Stir-fry with Indonesian peanut sauce or roasted vegetable rending with spiced rice, beetroot raita and crried pineallpe salsa (either one or other or both will be available)

There will always be a bah-humbug available but some nights, if we’re too busy, we’ll take the stir-fry off. (at least for you guys, I’ll make sure there’s a little for me because it’s my favourite main)

Mushroom, cashew nut and tarragon pithivier with mushroom, chive and parsley sauce *

Beef daube *

* served with beetroot and potato gratin, celeriac chips, sprout pangrattata and carrots

These are the two Christmas dishes with a capital C. The accompaniments should be delicious. (sprout pangrattata back because dan liked it last year as did other avowed sprout haters and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without sprouts)


Sticky toffee Christmas cake, brandy toffee sauce and ice cream (v, co)

Tried and tested and a personal favourite

Christmas pudding soufflé (co)

This has been described as the best soufflé ever. There will be a gluten free option as soon as a get a gluten free Christmas pudding.

Bombe de noel with gluhwein berries (c, vo)

Pretty much stolen from cook vegetarian I think. We steal the name and then make the rest up. I’m hoping for good things.

Crème bruleé (c, vo)

Most likely be flavoured. I’ve been asked about rhubarb and we have some that we saved from last season in the freezer. I’ll probably dig it out. Probably the dessert I’m most likely to order when I eat out.

So that is the Christmas menu. I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I’ll hate cooking it by the 19th. If I get lazy the pithivier will be a Wellington by the second week.

Vino has come out of retirement and wishes everyone a happy holiday season and has chosen the following for his festive season. I’ll probably not be allowed to play my Christmas compilation again because they are all very sad but I’ll do my best to get them past leanne.

Hi Everyone,
Sorry for the delay, I somehow managed to lose an almost completed list, so here's a completely new one.
It's a bit of a mixture of old and new. The Broadcast and Tarwater songs are well worth a listen and I highly recommend them for a play in the restaurant.
My next list will have a strong Welsh theme running through it and as a taster I ended this one with the Young Marble Giants track from 1980

Van Der Graaf Generator - Theme 1 (this was a theme tune to some programme in the 70's. Can't remember what though.)
Tarwater - Dia
The Adventures - Broken Land
Broadcast - Tears in the typing pool
Talking Heads - Crosseyed and Painless
Guillemots - Made Up Lovesong #43 (not sure what happened to no's 1-42 but there you go)
Bauhaus - Kick in the eye
Dif Juz - Re
Death Cab for Cutie - I will possess your heart
Frank Black - Headache
Grizzly Bear - Alligator
Modern English - Gathering Dust
Simple Minds - Theme for great cities 
Talk Talk - Such a shame
The Clash - Train in Vain
The Decemberists - Sleepless
The Doors - Waiting for the sun
The Monochrome set - Love goes down the drain
Young Marble Giants - Final Day (a band from Cardiff no less)
Happy listening

I’m signing off as well so,

Love and light

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